Author: Kelly Clemmons
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 05/02/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Romance, Paranormal
What lurks in Dartmoor?
After his father’s death, Finn Darcy returns to his ancestral home to become chief of his werecat clan. The mysterious Druids Lodge lies nestled in the shadows of Dartmoor National Park, where the legendary Beast of Dartmoor, a large panther, roams the woods and moors.
Finn cannot take his place as the head of the clan before he claims his mate, Luke Devlin, the one he marked while when they were children. Feeling he was deceived at the start of their relationship, Luke refuses to accept his fate. He bides his time, determined to escape when the opportunity presents itself, before Finn’s jealous and possessive dual nature destroys everything they have left.
But then werecats and their mates start disappearing, and Finn is adamant his mate must be protected at all costs. Events take a grim turn when Finn is abducted and forced to fight for his life. Luke must choose between his chance at freedom or saving Finn.
What did I just read?
I want to start out by saying that I thought the premise for this story was promising and I really liked the way the author presented shifters. I liked that the animal and the man were two separate beings in one body who had to learn to be friends and get along. It was actually kind of entertaining to see the cat side of Finn grow as the story progressed. However, that is the only positive thing I can think of to write in this review.
For me, this romance was just plain unsatisfying. It started out a hot mess of lies of omission, dubious consent, and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type angry outbursts. It then turned into one of the best examples of an abusive relationship ever! I mean Finn basically kept Luke prisoner and then verbally and physically abused him any time he got upset. He then went on to belittle Luke and tell him all the ways he was inferior and untrustworthy. But it was OK because Luke made him do it and Finn loves him so much and promises never to hurt Luke again! Rinse, repeat, and then I totally lost all respect for Luke because he kept coming back for the hot sex which magically fixed everything! Um no! Shifter insta-mating or not, this was not love. This was mental illness and low self esteem wrapped up in a horrid package designed to demonstrate why abuse victims keep going back for more. This was just not an enjoyable read at all.
In addition, I never connected with or liked the characters. Finn was an arrogant bully from the get go. He was angry, aggressive, hurtful, and totally selfish. Luke on the other hand was a pushover. I started to like him and feel sympathy for his story, but then he kept forgiving Finn and letting sex run his life and I lost all respect for his character. I skimmed the last 40% of the novel because I didn’t really care how things turned out for Luke and Finn. I mostly wanted to make sure the dog survived.
Finally, I am unsure of the author’s purpose in writing this book. In addition to the abusive relationship and characters I never liked, there were scenes of dubious consent and nonconsent that were treated without an ounce of care or respect for the victims. I never understood why the author had the characters behave as they did or why she even felt the need to tell this particular “romance.” Maybe it is just me, but this book was all kinds of wrong and I do not recommend it to anyone.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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